30 July 2020 – “Stand still and you will be left behind.” – Grey’s Anatomy – Life will be like this for years; the earliest close to ‘normal’ would probably be 2022. [And why would we like the normal? With its crisis, inequities, injustice?] [Read more.]
We will always be under threat, under the shadow of COVID-19.
We have to face it, we have to live with it.
We have to carry on, move, act, despite our misgivings and fears.
Our lives, our personal, work and union lives, depend on it.
We have our families
We need to meet their needs, the basics and beyond mere necessities.
They need our assurance that we would not get tired and will soldier on forever.
We have our work, whether in-workplace or WFH.
We need to make our living – for bare survival, prosperity, or personal and family development.
Ayuda is not enough, and was never meant for all of us.
We need to find ways, take care of ourselves, engage communities and the world.
We also need to look out that our employers are looking out for us,
and not only for themselves.
True, we have less human interactions and socializing with colleagues and workmates.
The old, reassuring environment which supports us at work might not be entirely there anymore.
We have to persevere with our collective, collaboration work, despite.
We have our unions and associations.
Many organizations have misjudged the virus and its implications,
thinking, like me, that they would be short-term, rather than this long.
Some organizations have hibernated with the pandemic;
many others are courageously slogging on.
Our unions have to be doing, and seen to be doing, more in this pandemic
as demonstrated elsewhere.
We have to meet, get on with our activities,
continue ministering to our members and their families.
They need us, they might not have anybody else to help them cope.
We have to show them we care, regardless the restrictions, the difficulties.
the pandemic is enabling us to engage oftener,
and with others we would not have dreamed of will be there for us.
Although online. We are ‘attending’ seminars and appreciating more than we were before.
We have to persevere.
Or the world will pass us by.
If we are not responsive,
our unions, and members, would be disaffected, and we will lose them.
They might not know what they need. They might not know what we could do.
They might need us to show the way.
We need to ramp up communication.
Inform affiliates and workers about the world out there.
What is going on with the economy, production, the virus.
Where we are with union actions, including representations with government or management, grievance, collective bargaining, organizing, even when locked down at home.
What’s happening, what we are doing …
What we need from them, what we could do for them …
We need their inputs, their views from the ground .
What our local unions and members have experienced –
the challenges of waiting for work, and going back to work.
What they, and we, are doing about COVID-19,
How they and we could contribute more while under-abled …
We need to prepare locals, members, for digital engagement –
in everyday life, work and organizations.
Timely information on quarantine,
available assistance for quarantine, where and how to get them.
We, they, must be prepared for online meetings, online activities, online engagement.
Online life, not merely for games and entertainment, but for the basics of life,
including engaging the digital to make ayuda or reduced earnings go far,
to make things less unbearable.
This is part of life-long learning, toughening ourselves for the daily grind and
the challenges of the here and now and the future.
This is part of protecting ourselves;
this is part of caring for ourselves and our families.
The future of work is suddenly very different from what we were beginning to believe
four months, or so, ago.
Advancing our agenda while under COVID threat,
fulfilling commitments while restricted to home and from physical meetings.
Employers, themselves under threat, are taking advantage of difficulties,
eroding gains in norms and standards.
We have to push our interest without waiting for government.
We have to flood agencies with what we think should be done,
where they are not doing well, what they could do better.
Or we and our workers and our families and communities ourselves would suffer,
Communication, two-way, must be fast, proactive, insightful.
Developing issues, problems, responses.
Workers are in social media, too, and they need more information from us or from others.
They need to be enabled to spot disinformation, misinformation, half-truths, outright fake news.
They need to learn from us or the impressionable will get other ideas.
We have to share many things,
They on their part have to tell us many things, too,
so we can respond properly based on data and evidence.
Our linkages need to be improved.
How to organize, protect and improve work terms and conditions under COVID?
We can’t just rely on IATF, government, national or local, DOLE.
They’re swamped with issues, problems, even questions of competence and credibility.
We ourselves have to take the initiative.
Sino pa ba mag look out sa ating interest?
Ipapaubaya ba natin ‘yan sa iba?
In these times as always, wala nang ibang maaasahan ang mga workers.
Tayo mismo, mga unionista at mga manggagawa, ang pagasa natin.
But, in all – respect.
People, institutions, government, all are coming from somewhere,
their backgrounds, environments, intentions, their processes,
their demonstrated strengths and frailties.
They have their own struggles; they are battling their own limitations and demons.
Let’s get on with it.